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Have you ever taken a trip with your family? Have you ever moved from one house to a different house? Have you ever flown in an airplane? Floated on the ocean in a ship? Gone up in a hot air balloon?
Human beings travel in all kinds of ways.

Nearly four centuries ago, a small group of people left their homes, got on a boat, and went to live in a place they had never seen before. At the time, there were no houses or buildings or stores in that place, only beaches and forests. It was a true wilderness. These people, the Pilgrims, wanted so much to worship the true God that they left everything they had and went to a new place.

That new place was North America. The authorities in England would not let them worship God in the way they believed they should. Nor could they teach their children the right things about him. So they packed up their belongings. They left their homes, gardens, farms, and families. They boarded a small ship called the Mayflower. There were 102 people on that ship, and most of them were children!

It was very crowded and the journey was difficult. Many grown-ups and children got seasick. Others got sick because they didn’t have fruits and vegetables to eat and they didn’t have fresh water to drink or to wash in. One person even died!

But God didn’t give up on them. He kept watching over them and blessing them. There was even a baby born on the Mayflower! Because he was born on the ocean, his parents named him Oceanus!

The voyage took a long, long time. When the Pilgrims finally got to land, their troubles were not over. By then, it was winter. There weren’t any houses to live in. There wasn’t much food to eat. In fact, on some days, each person got only a few kernels of corn! Because it was so cold and they didn’t have much food, many more people got sick. Many more died.

It must have been tempting to quit, to find a way to go back to England. But the Pilgrims knew God had led them to their new land, and they trusted him to care for them.

When spring came, God sent Native Americans to help the Pilgrims. The Native Americans taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn and fertilize it by putting fish in the ground along with the corn seeds. The Pilgrims worked hard growing food and building houses. When fall came, God gave them a great harvest. The Pilgrims knew God had helped them, and they were very thankful to him.

To celebrate God’s goodness to them, they had a feast—a thanksgiving feast. They invited their new friends, the Native Americans, to eat with them. It was the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving, and the celebration lasted for three days!

Just like the Pilgrims, we have struggles too. Sometimes people we love get sick. Sometimes we feel sad or lonely. Sometimes we are afraid. No matter what struggles and troubles we face, God keeps on loving us. He always gives us exactly what we need. The Bible says, “God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 ESV).

When we are sick, God gives us doctors and medicine to help us. When we feel sad or lonely, God gives us friends and families to help us. When we are afraid, God gives us parents and teachers to help us.

God loves you! He won’t always take your struggles away, but he promises that he will stay with you. He will always help you, no matter what. God loves you so much that he sent his own Son, Jesus, to die for you to take your sins away. That is the best gift ever! And because God loved us enough to give us his very best Gift—Jesus—we know he will give us everything else we need, too.

This Thanksgiving—and every day before and after that—we can thank God for his goodness to us in Jesus!

© 2009 CTA, Inc. Used with permission.

Click Here For This Sunday’s Handout 11-27-16